‘Let’s march’

2019 Women’s march steps off from Five Corners.

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Civil rights. Reproductive rights. Immigration. Environmental justice. Reducing fossil fuels. These are among the many reasons more than 70 Islanders showed up for the third annual women’s march on Martha’s Vineyard. Activists and demonstrators gathered at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 1 pm. Gray skies, light flurries, and low temperatures called for a bundled, brisk walk along Beach Road. This was the first mobile march on Martha’s Vineyard, where demonstrators braved the cold to make the hour-plus trek from Five Corners to Washington Park in Oak Bluffs.

Event organizers Margaret Emerson, chair of the Chilmark Democratic committee, and Carla Cooper, founder of Indivisible MV, addressed the group splashed in pink. Their fingers  with fingers wrapped around homemade signs.

“Why do we march?” Emerson asked through the echoes of a mini megaphone. “For civil rights and liberties … for cleaner air, immigration rights, racial and religious justice, reproductive rights … let’s pass the [Equal Rights Amendment].” Her words were met with cheers, beeps, and timely dog barks. “Let’s march,” Cooper said, and the group stepped off Five Corners.

“I feel like I need to do something to help save our democracy, country, and planet,” Deb Maher said, holding a sign in one hand and her Lab’s leash in the other. “We’ve lost sight of real American values.”

Nine-year-old Elysia Brown-Savastano held up ‘Trump’s Report Card’: “Respect … F; Spelling … F; Honesty … F; Math … F; Science … F. P.E. … F; Collusion … A+.”

“I’m marching because Trump doesn’t respect women of color,” Elysia said. “He doesn’t care about climate change, and he doesn’t know how to spell.” Elysia and mother Pamela Brown came to the march from Dartmouth because it was the only march in the state where they’d actually be able to march.

“I really like the walking part of this,” Susanna Sturgis, a Vineyard resident, said. “Especially in this kind of weather. It’s better than standing around. It’s also nice having two towns involved instead of just one.”

Many demonstrators commented on the progress the country has made since the first women’s march on Jan. 21, 2017, which took place the day after President Trump’s Inauguration in locations all over the country.

“People are working hard to keep democracy strong and the government on track,” Emerson said. “More people have gotten involved in making changes on the federal, state, and local level.”

“Two years ago, it was all about Trump,” Cooper said. “Now, it’s all about us. There’s been a monumental sweeping of grassroots activism.”

In the past two years, the country has elected 102 women to the House of Representatives, 13 to the U.S. Senate, and nine governors.

“It’s honestly been the most exhausting, yet exhilarating couple of years,” Cooper said. “But our work is far from over. It’ll never be over.”

There were fewer people at this year’s march compared with last, but that was true in locations all over the country. This march presented division among its original leadership. Founders Vanessa Rubel, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez, who organized the first unified march in 2017, had a feud over race and religion. Rubel is white and Jewish, Mallory and Perez are women of color and support causes of Palestinian rights. There was disagreement as to who should be the leader of the march, which splintered into two rival groups organizing rival marches in New York City Saturday. But none of that was apparent on-Island.

“I actually found this march more positive,” Emerson said. “I think a year ago there was a lot more distress, and there’s still distress, but people are feeling better. I think this went really well.”

“I’m feeling really encouraged by the number of people who showed up, the energy seemed good and driven by enthusiasm,” Sturgis said.

“It’s hard to do things that matter,” Melissa Page, a Vineyard Haven resident, said. “Showing up matters.”

12 COMMENTS

  1. Women’s March Rally?? Call it what it really is….Anti Trump Rally. I really do support your right to gather and protest, its as American as you can be. But please do your self a favor and stop believing everything you are being fed by newscasts, late night talk shows, comedians, and most newspapers. You can get more unbiased information from the internet than facebook.

    • The 9 year old got it exactly right by grading the President with all Fs. How is that biased? Trump is exceedingly disrespectful, right down to being so toward Gold Star parents and those who have physical disabiities. He can’t spell or proofread or use spell check. Look at his tweets. He is not honest and cannot be trusted to be honest about anything, if he’s talking about unimportant things like crowd size or if he is contradicting what he himself said about promisinging Mexico would pay for his wall. Or if he and Melania want to promote that Obama was not born in this country. He fails at math becauses of his sketchy economic agenda and by taking credit for what he did not do. He fails at science because he fails to accept what science has proven and promotes damaging the earth and its resources. He fails at physical education because he is morbidly obese and eats a diet that is nutritionally poor and medically known to cause disease and early death. He is an uneducated bufoon about history, for example, not even knowing who Frederick Douglas was and that the man is not still alive. Trump’s failures are a reflection of what HE says and does, not that the news reports it. It is ridiculous and uneducated to claim that reporting Trump’s own words and actions is somehow biased. The collusion grade is the only grade that is not yet verified. We have to wait for that one.

    • 3 d — No matter what news source I get my news from, the truth is the truth — even if the presidents lawyer says it is not– so let’s see if we can agree on a few basic things about trump.
      1 ) I think he is disrespectful — how about you ?
      He calls people names — do you agree ?
      Virtually anyone who disagrees with him is personally criticized by him –do you agree ?
      Flailing your arms around , shaking your head and speaking oddly while referencing a handicapped reporter is offensive.. Do you agree ?
      describing people seeking legal asylum in the united states as “animals ” , rapist, traffickers and criminals is offensive — do you agree.
      2) the man is a verifiable pathological liar– I don’t care if you think Obama or Hillary lied– do you think trump always tells the truth ?

      3) he is ignorant of foreign policy. Do you agree ?
      4) do you think it is “fake news” when his tweets are read by the people who follow him ?
      5) who will pay for the wall ?
      Just what is all the “FAKE NEWS” that you complain about ?
      Perhaps the government is not shut down ?
      The coast guard is getting paid ?
      Do you think Trump never said he would be proud to shut down the government ?
      Do you think he has never played golf as president ?
      Do you think he released his taxes (as he said he would ? ) well, do you believe he said he would release his taxes if elected ?
      I am sick of hearing about “fake news from cnn — please tell me what it is they are lying about …

      • sick of hearing about “fake news from cnn — please tell me what it is they are lying about … ~~~ How about from the Washington Post –> Mueller’s office denies BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project…
        What are you going to do dondondon12 when our President Trump wind in 2020?
        When will you get over and agree that there is No Smoking Gun?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns3EeKmoNKY

        • The Special Counsel’s office put out a statement and BuzzFeed did not retract. There have been indictments, trials, convictions, and prison time. There are also a few dozen sealed indictments on hold. Courts don’t hand those out on a whim, prosecutors need convincing evidence. That’s all a fair bit more than a smoking gun.

  2. Just more bored island snowflakes that have nothing to do on a Saturday. Sure lets march about the complaint du jour. It will make a huge difference on MV
    Anyone see this when Obama was elected (didn’t think so)
    Why don’t you all gather and actually do some good and help the island homeless community? (not illegals)
    volunteer at a food pantry, the library or actually help someone out. Instead of all this feel-good foolishness.
    Time to give it up, your girl lost fair and square. Embrace the change and shut off NPR and CNN

    • Viewfromoverthere– i doubt you will see many maga hats working the volunteer lines–
      Your boy won, perhaps not fair and square, but he won– own it. I don’t see anyone here whining about Hillary’s loss.. But I do see some people trying to blame her for trumps failures–

    • And what did you do on Sunday? Watch football? Or did you volunteer for thehomelessatthelibraryfoodpantry? Why are they mutually exclusive anyways? Can my wife not volunteer at the food pantry on Monday after marching for her rights on Sunday? What exactly is your problem?

    • I’m sure you can only do one thing at a time but most people(especially women) can multitask very well. You know bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan.

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